Thursday, August 03, 2006
First new column in a week: Gerald McRaney talks about playing smilin' George Hearst on "Deadwood."
It was a Mark Burnett double-feature for me last night, albeit a time-shifted one. The "Rock Star" results show continues to put the hour-long "Idol" version to great shame. Sure, there's still some padding, and Brooke Burke makes Seacrest look like Johnny Carson, but we get three new performances (with Jill's "Alone" being the best), an encore of the previous night's best (Ryan's still a dick, and that's still a great performance), plus real conversation between the judges and the contestants about what they're doing right and wrong. Much as I like Patrice (she was one of my favorites in the first episode, and has been at least solid throughout), I think the guys would have been justified in dumping her; if people still don't care enough to vote for her when she's being backed by the band's biggest star, why will they care if she's their new singer? But Dana was never going to win, despite having one of the best two or three voices of anyone this season, so you may as well let a veteran like Patrice stick around to see if she can make some headway once the songwriting begins.
Also caught my first "Contender" in a few weeks (I missed the Balletto/Torres episode while in Cali). I know some people have complained that the fights are more sloppily-edited this year, but I thought this one was clearly told. Walter just had a much longer reach and quicker hands, and so long as he was willing to press that advantage, Andre didn't have a chance. Narrative deck was definitely stacked in favor of Aaron, though: tough to root for the guy who just wants to show how good he is (even if he's clearly better) versus the scrappy underdog who cries with his brother and gets K-9 to read to him from the Book of Job. I will admit that, without the padding provided by the challenges, all the talk of "We've gotta win back the right to choose!" can get really repetitive; I'd rather spend more time getting to know some of the fighters who may not be competing for weeks. So far, K-9 is the only really strong personality we've got. And one question: if you're Jeff Fraza, why the hell aren't you pushing to fight as soon as possible before you get struck down with the mumps or roseola or something?
Posted by Alan Sepinwall at 8:31 AM